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Massage Got Out of Hand, Minnesota Woman Says

MINNEAPOLIS (CN) - A Minnesota woman wants damages from the masseur whose history of inappropriately groping clients led him to admit that he "gave in to forbidden temptation."

Minnesota Department of Health records show that the state barred Roy Marquiss from practicing massage therapy in October 2015 for "engaging in sexual contact with clients."

The state had opened its investigation into Marquiss earlier that year after receiving a complaint from a woman who said Marquiss put his fingers in her vagina during a massage on Dec. 16, 2014.

When regulators asked him about the encounter, Marquiss told them he would apologize to the client if he could, records show.

"It wasn't until the aforementioned occasion that I somehow lost my way and gave in to a forbidden temptation that I'm sure all therapists are faced with at one time or another," Marquiss said, as quoted in the state's letter of findings.

The client whose complaint initiated the investigation filed suit Tuesday against Marquiss and the Maple Grove business where her ordeal occurred, Massage Retreat & Spa.

Though the woman uses her full name in the Hennepin County District Court filing, Courthouse News has redacted that information for this article.

Insisting that she did nothing to "entice" the 50-year-old Marquiss, the woman says the Minneapolis masseur penetrated her, and that she put her hand up to make him stop.

"Marquiss left the room to get plaintiff a water bottle, and when he returned, said something like, 'Well that's some stress relief for you, isn't it,'" the complaint states.

"Feeling uncomfortable, violated, and ashamed," the client says she reported what happened to the state and learned that "Marquiss had inappropriately and sexually touched at least two other women."

The state's report on Marquiss includes details of those other incidents, which apparently occurred several months after Marquiss allegedly touched the woman suing now.

While the plaintiff here filed her complaint with the state on March 17, 2015, three months after her massage, the spa's file on Marquiss shows that one woman complained about a massage she received from Marquiss on Feb. 21, 2015.

The second massage that inspired a complaint against Marquiss occurred on March 28, 2015, according to the state's findings.

Regulators noted that the spa fired Marquiss on April 7, 2015, the same day that the state notified him of the investigation.

The woman who complained about Marquiss in February said his "hands went so low as to touch the top of her nipple," and "went a little too high for comfort" during "leg work," as quoted in the state's findings.

"Any higher he would have touched her vagina," the record continues.

The March complaint accuses Marquiss of touching the client's nipples as well.

In addition to accusing Marquiss of negligence and sexual battery, the plaintiff wants to hold the spa liable for negligent retention and supervision. She is represented by Stacy Stennes with the Conlin Law Firm of Minneapolis.

While not licensed by the state, Marquiss was licensed by Maple Grove "to provide personal service," according to health department records. The state says Marquiss began working at Massage Retreat in November 2013.

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